Comparing workload of med/dent/pharm/physio?

Discussion in 'NZ General Discussion' started by MedicalMystery, Nov 25, 2015.

  1. MedicalMystery

    MedicalMystery New Member

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    Could someone please compare the workload of med/dent/pharmacy/physio? During degree and the actual job.

    Random stuff about why I want to know, don't have to read...This year in health sci I seriously struggled emotionally and felt constantly stressed because I always felt behind (and really was sometimes) and overwhelmed with how much work I had to do everyday. Without any details, it made me turn back to a previous addictive behavior. My motivation in semester two it plummeted, and I had to struggle to make myself study before each exam (only studied 2-3 days in total for each) and left every one early because I couldn't find it in me to check my answers. I really don't think I could take another year like that, and while I wanted med at the start I don't know anymore. I'm honestly not particularly interested in anything anymore, I just don't want it to be a struggle like this year.

    As I understand it med and dent have similar courses but dent is more lifestyle friendly. Not sure about pharmacy and physio.
    I mostly want to know if it'd be better in the actual med/dent courses. But seeing as my main stress was over how much I had to know (not exactly getting in) I'm not sure.

    Sorry for the long post, just really unsure and don't have anyone to ask for advice. Thanks :)
     
  2. catchingup

    catchingup New Member

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    Sorry to hear you had such a rough year. There are so many demands during and not everyone is equally supported or prepared. Under extraordinary conditions regular people can have unusual reactions. It might feel like a personal failing, but that doesn't mean that it is, and probably doesn't (or won't) generalise to other areas of life once you are under more natural conditions again. Do you have a good support system in place now? Are you taking care of yourself?
     
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  3. MedicalMystery

    MedicalMystery New Member

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    I met my boyfriend this year in my hall but didn't get along that well with the others on my floor. He was really amazing and supported me, but that's also a concern on my part, because I feel it is really a burden for him to do that and taxing on his own energy.
    I'm feeling good and doing things I enjoy this holiday. I think I'm a natural stresser though and am just worried that if I choose med/dent and there's still that feeling of always being behind/struggling to keep up, I'll struggle but not want to outright quit because of investment/good prospects if I just get through the degree.
     
  4. catchingup

    catchingup New Member

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    Good on you for thinking out a balanced plan. It's too easy to just put your head down and grind it out without regard for the costs, only to realise once it's too late. Every person is going to respond to things in their own way, but it is fair to say that all programmes in university can be demanding at times. The professional programmes maybe more so. Certainly by reputation Med and Dent are among the more demanding ones but you'd be hard pressed to find anyone with the right experience to compare like for like. Even if you have done multiple degrees, the order that you do them in will change how you fine them.

    It seems that among your options you could a) do any programme, but make sure you have the right supports in place; b) pick a programme that is expected to be less demanding, recognising that every programme will have times where it is stressful; or c) consider if any multi-year commitment to a stressful experience at this point in your life is going to cost you more than it returns. There are bound to be options d, e, and f, but this gives a start.

    I don't know where you are based, but would it be worth booking some time in at one of the career advice days the university hosts around the country to see what they can hammer out with you, and in particular to see what supports may be available.

    Remember that just because your first year was hard, there may be a lot of stressors that year that won't ever be present again (first year away from home; living with people you don't get on with; a highly competitive programme; a new relationship). It could be that you are past the hump.
     
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  5. frootloop

    frootloop Otago Trainee Intern (MBChB VI) Moderator

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    During the first two years, med isn't really that much harder than any other undergrad course. There's a ludicrous amount of content, but the exams are ludicrously easy to pass, and all that pressure of getting in is gone. The contact hours (and in my own case, the stress) ramp up significantly from fourth year onwards, although it largely depends which run you're on/what specific expectations your consultants have.

    The 'workload of being a doctor' is essentially too broad to answer in one go. It depends what level you're at (house officer, registrar, consultant), what specialty you go into, whether you take on admin/teaching/research roles, where you work... etc. However, no matter where you end up in medicine, chances are it'll be a reasonably full-on job.

    I had similar concerns to you when I started med, but to be honest you just sort of end up absorbing the brunt of each step up in stress/workload as you go. You'll be surprised how large the human capacity to deal with b.s. is :p
     
  6. Ruth

    Ruth Maderator Emeritus

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    Hey sunshinecat - sorry to hear you had a tough time this year!! I had a pretty tough time in health sci as well and it's ultimately what lead me to choosing dent as a course. Ultimately, every course has its stressors but the nice thing is that they're different stressors to health sci - a lot less about competition and a lot less about those unattainable a+s and a lot more about developing your own sense of responsibility.

    I struggled a lot with stress and anxiety in health sci (and dent), which made the more relaxed lifestyle of dent both as a course and a career a lot more attractive to me even tho like you I'd originally planned to do med. Having said that, dent can be super stressful as well. At the start of 3rd year I was seriously considering dropping out, as I wasn't handling the responsibility of seeing patients well, but this passed after a month or two after I got used to it (and it was aggravated by a few personal things as well). Now I just finished 4th year and I find it all completely fine, and I can be an incredibly anxious person. There's a lot to learn but like froot said, it's easy to pass - it's kind of up to you to decide what kind of depth you want to know things at.

    I think the main attractor for me was that hearing about other people's experiences with the house surgeon year made me realise that it wasn't something I could handle - while there's similar things I'm dent, you only need to do them if you want to. Overall I think that I probably could have handled med, and you probably would be able to, but I am very sure I made the right decision for myself. So good on you for trying to find out more about each course! I am very glad that I'm not going to be undergoing the extra years of study etc involved with becoming a doctor though, I'm very glad that after next year that's it. Also the nice thing about dent is that you can choose your hours - I know people graduating this year who are taking part time jobs next year simply because they want to. The dentist I'm assisting for these holudays tries to never work past 4.30, a lot of clinics are just plain closed on Friday afternoons.

    Pharmacy seems like it's kind of a similar workload to dent, altho there's more tests and things (since they don't see patients). I don't know much about physio tho sorry! Good luck in making your choice, overall they're very different courses and careers which I don't think many health scis understand. I am 100% sure however that whatever you choose, you'll learn to cope with it and hopefully you should be happy with your choice! Sorry not sure I answered your question very well and this is also super long!

    PS I do so so so so so much less work than in health sci
     
  7. MedicalMystery

    MedicalMystery New Member

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    Thank you cathingup, frootloop and rurururuth (had to look twice to spell that one) for your insights! I really appreciate the time taken to write those long posts. And I definitely feel a lot better that it won't necessarily be like this year in the future. I used to have this outlook kind of not looking forward to living my life because I thought the next 4/5/whatever years would just be more depressing study but I've made progress shedding that attitude this year.

    I'll definitely try to live a more balanced life next year, whichever course I do (though, I said that last year as well and then BAM hellsci). I think being in a set course and pass/fail grading would help my anxiety. I guess I'll focus on not being so negative ("I'm screwed" before every test haha) and less of a perfectionist. And I should just avoid freaking out in general and make some friends :p

    But yeah, the more 'lifestyle' friendly nature of dentistry and less years of study definitely appeal to me. I've done a lot of unnecessary stressing and study these few years (yeah, I was a tryhard year 12/13, haha NCEA, regret) and I want to live my life and be happy. After all, why work so hard to keep living when you don't...make life worth living. It is called 'making a living'...

    I went into a pharmacy today to shadow and it was alright, though it seems pretty routine (dispensing and computing). There was a mother who asked for a pharmacist and got a diagnosis for her son (conjunctivitis), I enjoyed that the most. They showed me their morphine/other drugs that could be abused safes haha. I've called up a dental clinic in regards to shadowing as well, they told me to ask the dentist after my appointment on Friday ... And I'll call up a doctor later too when they're open.

    Though of course at this stage I don't know if I got into med or dent haha, I don't think my interview was very convincing because of my uncertainty and general burned out-ness and my rank score is a bit iffy. But I'm going on a cruise while offers come out so I'll have to accept one right away when I get back.

    But yeah, thank you so much, I don't know where I'd be without this forum haha :)
     
  8. Dinahlady

    Dinahlady Regular Member

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    I think it's good you're thinking of your mental health, but I just wanted to add that anxiety is treatable though psychological interventions like CBT, counselling, or combination of these and medication if required.

    Imo if you get anxious a lot then it probably won't matter what you go into, or even if you quit uni or stayed at home and didnt do much - you'll probably always get anxious in times of stress - which everyone gets because life. Admittedly HSFY piles on the stress. But HSFY or med aren't going to be the only stressful things in your life. Trust me, you will encounter non-academic or circumstantial things that are just as, if not more, stressful than med or HSFY.

    Imo working on your response to stress, and working on your support system with health professionals might help you get the "lifestyle" you want more than a course choice?

    Just my opinion as someone who is also stressy who has had a lot of success with CBT and counselling since starting uni.
     
  9. Alex Wu

    Alex Wu New Member

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    For those interested in the workload of Dental Surgery at Otago, i can share some insight in the 2nd year aspect of things. I got in via the graduate pathway, (having done a Bachelors in Biomedical Sciences + offered Hons), so for me I found 2nd year Dent to be extremely manageable, enjoyable and relatively exciting. This is largely due to the fact that theoretical work (plain studying/tests) is mixed in with clinical work. Although 2nd years do not yet see live patients, we are eased into that process with simulation clinics and working on each other, so that's something many enjoy (whereas hands-on clinical work for Medicine and Pharmacy comes much later on and in smaller amounts). Compared to HSFY, although the material is slightly more in depth, the workload actually feels much lighter - largely in part to the fact that each cohort of Dent class consists of only ~70 students, and everyone helps each other out on the FB class page (sharing exam answers, written essay questions, even higher years pass down the materials) and this REALLY helps ease the workload to nearly the point of being able to enjoy studying (if that's even possible haha). Additionally, the absence of competition/backstabbing that is all too common during HSFY puts a different spin altogether.
    All in all those worried that the amount of stress in HSFY will be repeated in Dentistry (BDS) - the general consensus from most Dental students would be that it is many more times less stressful and many more times more enjoyable (at least starting off) :)
     
  10. DrTrump

    DrTrump New Member

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    Alex Wu, I think Dent has 100% or at least has the highest pass rates across all the health science professional degrees.
     
  11. Ruth

    Ruth Maderator Emeritus

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    This was true in the past, but in recent years and especially wit the new dean, things have changed. The pass rate is still high - but there's now on average about 2 people a year who fail and have to redo the year, I haven't heard of anyone completely failing and getting kicked out tho.
     
  12. DrTrump

    DrTrump New Member

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    Well, in health science you only allowed to redo a year once through out the whole program. Failure in second year is pretty a probationary course.
     
  13. CheesyJellybean

    CheesyJellybean New Member

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    Forgive me if this has been asked before but failing a paper means you are barred from Med/dent right?
     
  14. Stuart

    Stuart Administrator Administrar

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    Hi Ruth.

    I think this is still true. I recently looked through the statistics. It was either 99% or 100%. I will try to find and upload the statistics.




    Hi,

    They have resits, if you are talking about professional courses. So, not necessarily barred. If you are talking about first year courses, you are right.
     
  15. CheesyJellybean

    CheesyJellybean New Member

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    So for HSFY it's just one shot right?
     
  16. Stuart

    Stuart Administrator Administrar

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    Hi,

    You are correct. One shot. One opportunity.
     
  17. CheesyJellybean

    CheesyJellybean New Member

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    Man I thought I hit jackpot when I saw the resitting thing- oh well! Thanks Stuart!
     
  18. Stuart

    Stuart Administrator Administrar

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    Hi CheesyJellybean,

    You are welcome. For the record, it is the same at Auckland.




    It turns out the figures I have are pretty out-dated. I will return if I get to find more recent ones.
     

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